Axcan, a Canadian based pharmaceutical company, has intensified its hostile takeover bid for Salix Pharmaceuticals.
But the increased offer, to $10.50 a share, is still below the price of Salix stock. Salix (Nasdaq: SLXP) closed at $11.84 on Tuesday. The firm’s stock has surged some 60 percent since Axcan launched its takeover attempt with an opening bid of $8.75 last month. Axcan also extended its tender offer to June 27. It was to have expired last Friday.
Axcan’s frustration with Salix’s reluctance to sell is showing.
“We are prepared to move forward at this level on a friendly basis, but continue to be disappointed at the apparent unwillingness of Salix’s management and board to explore this value creation opportunity for shareholders,” said Leon Gosselin, chief executive officer of Axcan, in a statement.
Axcan also called for Salix to name new independent directors to consider the offer before Salix’s annual stockholder meeting, which is June 19.
In a statement, Salix, a developer of gastrointestinal drugs, said its board would meet with management and financial and legal advisors to discussed the new bid. Thus far, the board has resisted the buyout.
“In the interim, the board requests that Salix stockholders defer making a determination whether to accept or reject the revised Axcan offer until they have been advised of the Salix board’s position with respect to the revised offer,” the company said.
A spokesperson for Axcan told Dow Jones News Service the company doesn’t plan to increase the price. The wire service noted that Lekha Rao also said attempts to negotiate a settlement had not been reciprocated by Salix.
Dow Jones reported that only a few Salix shares were tendered at the $8.75 price.